Despite strong voter support for a ballot measure to loosen the
state's tough "three strikes" law, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer told local
crime fighters and civic leaders this week that it could leave
communities more vulnerable to violent criminals.
Voters are being swayed by deceptive anecdotes they hear about
people receiving life sentences for shoplifting because it's their
third strike when upwards of 30,000 felons -- some who committed
violent crimes -- could be released if the law is changed, Lockyer
He told his audience Wednesday at Glendale Police's Community Room
that he disagrees with critics' rationale for freeing jailed felons
because each one costs taxpayers $30,000 yearly, saying the possible
damage of not having them behind bars is "costless."
"I would rather pay than have to endure that result," Lockyer said
of what rapists or murderers might do. "To narrow the 'three strikes'
law will hurt the community."
A Los Angeles Times poll Monday found that 62% of likely voters
supported Proposition 66, while 21% opposed it and 17% were
Lockyer also discussed the alarming rise of homicides from gang
activity in the past 20 years -- a jump from 10% to nearly 50% of
total murders in Los Angeles County. He suggested bulking up
law-enforcement agencies, saying 80,000 officers is not enough to
police 34 million residents.
In addition, he voiced support for Prop. 69, which would allow
law-enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples of felons and anyone
arrested but not yet convicted of a felony.
"For each arrestee, we take mug shots and fingerprints. [Tracking
their] DNA is just like fingerprinting," he said.
The meeting, which was organized by Assemblyman Dario Frommer
(D-Glendale), featured such dignitaries as Glendale Police Chief
Randy Adams, CHP Southern Division Assistant Chief Art Acevedo,
Burbank Police Chief Thomas Hoefel and Glendale City Councilmen Gus
Gomez and Frank Quintero.
Adams was eager to hear from Lockyer, whom he called the state's
"I'm interested in his perspective because what he does at the
state level affects us locally," Adams said.